ATOMS Project Activities and Reports

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Organization of ATOMS Project Activities and Reports

The Project Activities and Reports section reports status, sub-project listings, and draft documents. The bibliographies provide full listings of the project’s publications and presentations. Materials that result from these activities and that are ready for distribution and use can be found under the Products section.

The ATOMS Project was designed with three primary components, consistent with the original NIDRR request for proposals.

  1. Needs assessment

    Needs Assessment summarizes the Field Scans, Stakeholder Focus Groups, Existing Database Analyses, Collaborative Meetings and Consensus Building, and Assumptions, Projects, and Discoveries created throughout the ATOMS Project.

  1. Exploratory research and development projects (instrument development)
  2. Abandonment analysis

Additionally, a fourth category summarizes dissemination efforts in each of the primary components.

  1. Publications, presentations, and bibliographies

The fifth and sixth categories contain information regarding other research activities.

  1. Course Outline
  2. SPP/I3

I. Needs Assessment

    1. Field Scans
    2. Stakeholder Focus Groups
    3. Existing Database Analyses
    4. Collaborative Meetings and Consensus Building
    5. Assumptions, Projects, and Discoveries

A. Field Scans

Browse and comment on the field scans.

  1. Examination of current instruments
  2. Literature review
  3. Literature review and survey
  4. Summarizing issues of legal/policy
  5. Summarizing newer methodologies and instrumentation

We welcome your feedback. If you are unable to use the links associated with each field scan, please email your comments to or mail your notes using information found in the Contact Us section at the bottom of the page.

Examination of current instruments

Field Scan 1
Name: AT Instrument Update and Review
Short Description: A comprehensive search of published AT instruments was performed. The instruments are primarily those that are available commercially. A searchable database, called ID-AT-Assessments, cataloging the nature of the instruments’ questions and their purposes is completed. This data set and instrument library serves as a guide for practitioners to support the selection of the best measures for their clinical situations.
Technical Report: Assistive Technology Instrument Update and Review
Field Scan 2
Name: The Inclusion of Assistive Technology Outcomes in Current Health and Rehabilitation Outcome Measures
Short Description: This field scan identified hundreds of health and rehabilitation instruments. 100 were selected and critically reviewed in regard to the inclusion of AT and the measurement issues surrounding the use of AT. The results are published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (2005) 84 (10), 78-793.

This field scan also worked with the authors of several instruments under development to identify AT inclusion and scaling issues and to provide recommendations.

Interim Report: FS2 Update
Technical Report: The Inclusion of Assistive Technology Outcomes in Current Health and Rehabilitation Outcome Measures

Literature review

Field Scan 7
Name: Review of Taxonomies Related to Domains of Assistive Technology Outcomes
Short Description:This field scan examines the intersection of performance taxonomies domains across taxonomies to identify a common language for AT outcomes discussions. A review of 10 generic taxonomic models including the Nagi Model (1965), ICIDH (1980, 1993), Rehabilitation Indicators (1983), NCMRR Research Plan (1993), Quality of Life Taxonomy (Spilker & Revicki, 1996), Characterization of Rehabilitation Services (Duncan, Hoenig, Samsa, & Hamilton 1997), Institutes of Medicine Model (1997), ICIDH-2 draft (1997), and the ICF (2002.) The field scan reveals a range of acceptance of AT as part of the performance models.
Interim Report: FS7 Update
Technical report: Models and Taxonomies Relating to Assistive Technology
Field Scan 12
Name: History of Assistive Technology Outcomes
Short Description: This field scan was identified and added to place AT outcomes measurement methodology in context. This literature review provides a chronology of events and publications relevant to assistive technology outcomes. This field scan is available as a report with a chronological event wall chart.
Interim Report: FS12 Update
Technical report: History of AT Outcomes
Field Scan 13
Name: Methods to Identify Assistive Technology Device Use
Short Description: This field scan was added as an outgrowth of the recognition that any AT outcomes system must know what devices and services were provided and how the devices were used. In any outcomes study these would be the independent variables. This scan has examined the assistive technology outcome instruments and AT outcomes research literature to see how the field has historically performed this function. The results of the field scan indicate that current approaches to identify AT use do not necessarily ensure that all devices used by an individual are identified or the method only a priori scrutinizes one subset of devices. Presented at RESNA, June 2003.
Interim Report: FS13 Update
Technical report: Methods to Identify Assistive Technology Device Use
Field Scan 14
Name: Review of the Literature on AT Satisfaction Measurement
Short Description: This field scan was added to the ATOMS Project in the spring of 2003. Recent interest in using product satisfaction scales prompted a review of how product satisfaction is viewed from a research and measurement perspective. While it has consumer perspective in mind, the quantification of self-satisfaction also poses other measurement issues as potential limitations. This field scans reviews the advantages and disadvantages of product satisfaction scales. An article for a refereed journal submission is in progress.
Interim Report: FS14 Update

Literature review and survey

Field Scan 3
Name: Outcome Measures Used in AT Research & Development
Short Description: Activity Questions: Do assistive technology device developers use appropriate outcomes instruments and methodologies for their projects? How severe is the problem? Do product developers perceive there to be a problem?

This field scan examined 1) the current use of outcomes measures by Federally funded (2001) investigators of assistive technology and 2) the use and perception of outcomes measures by commercial developers of AT. Presented at RESNA, June 2003. An article for a refereed journal submission is in press.

Rust, K. L. & Smith, R. O. (In press) Perspectives of outcome data from assistive technology developers. Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, 3.

Interim Report: FS3 Update
Technical report: Outcome Measures Used in AT Research & Development

Summarizing issues of legal/policy

Field Scan 9
Name: Legal Implications of Assistive Technology Outcomes Instruments
Short Description: This field scan examined legal & ethical issues related to AT outcomes systems. Our team attorney has completed this review discussing legal, responsible, & ethical data collection procedures; potential legal ramifications of AT outcomes data (positive and negative); and implications of AT outcomes for policy-making. An open forum discussed these issues and strategies at the RESNA 2003 conference. An article for a refereed journal submission is in progress.
Technical report: Town Hall Meeting on Legal Issues Involved in Measuring AT Outcomes

Summarizing newer methodologies and instrumentation

Field Scan 4
Name: Next Generation Data Collection Technology
Short Description: This field scan reviewed current and developing hand held computer data collection technologies that might be relevant to an outcomes system. The review of current and emerging technology approaches was completed based on: a) Content/outcomes, b) Equipment (hardware/software) characteristics, c) Portability, d) Cost, e) Durability, f) Scaling potentials, g) Data collection processes/protocol, h) Data handling protocols, and i) Data Reporting. Presented at RESNA, June 2003
Interim Report: FS4 Update
Technical report: Next Generation Data Collection
Field Scan 5
Name: Comparison of Cost Outcome Methods
Short Description: This field scan reviewed cost the cost comparison literature and explored how various approaches and methodologies might meet the needs for AT outcomes measurement procedures that include cost variables. Results have been published in the Assistive Technology, (2003), 15(1), 16-27.
Interim Report: FS5 Update
Technical report: Comparison of Cost Outcome Methods
Field Scan 6
Name: Use of Multi-attribute (MAU) and Bayes Approaches in Outcomes Data Collection
Short Description: This field scan has reviewed the literature using Multi-attribute Utility (MAU) Theory and Bayes Theorem to identify the scope in which they are used and recommends potential applications relevant to AT outcomes. Articles have been coded into three categories: 1) health, 2) engineering, and 3) general literature.
Technical report: Multiattribute Utility Theory

B. Stakeholder Focus Groups

Focus groups will be held to isolate the needs that different populations have for AT outcomes information.

  1. Consumer/user groups (4)
  2. Service directors
  3. Funding agencies for AT devices & services
  4. Researchers, developers, & manufacturers
  5. Parents & caregivers

C. Database Analyses

The project will evaluate existing databases that contain assistive technology device and service data to determine outcomes information that is currently available.

  1. Clinical (public schools, rehabilitation programs, vocational services)
  2. National population databases
  3. Vocational rehabilitation

D. Collaborative Meetings and Consensus Building

  1. Technical Report – Qualitative Research Discussions, April
    29-30, 2003 (Version 1.0)
  2. NIDRR Collaboration Meeting Notes, St. Louis, September 19, 2003

E. Assumptions, Projects & Discoveries

  1. ATOMS Project 2002-2003: Assumptions, Projects & Discoveries

II. Exploratory R&D Projects

  1. The Ohio ATOMS Project
    • The ATOMS Project partnered with the state of Ohio AT Infusion Project, which provided AT devices to students throughout Ohio using a grant application process to award funding. Assisting with outcomes development, the project has AT outcome data reported on more than 1760 students.
    • Technical Report – The Ohio Infusion Project
    • Technical Report – The Assistive Technology Infusion Project (ATIP) Database
  2. Bifocal use
    • Recognizing that the importance of examining positive and negative outcomes of AT are equally critical in order to reveal an accurate picture of the impact and effects of AT, and that negative aspects of AT are often overlooked in AT outcomes research, the ATOMS Project initiated a research path investigating the functional effects of bifocal use. Two pilot studies (Joerger, 2003, and Brayton, 2005) led to the proposal of and an award for the BIFOCAL Project a NIDRR funded three-year project investigating functional and fMRI outcomes in new wearers of multi-focal lenses
  3. Instrument development
    1. Subjective measure of the percent contribution of AT
      • Recognizing the need to have a method for identifying the amount of contribution an assistive technology device or service has on an outcome when obtained using an ecological approach outside of a laboratory controlled environment and that subjective and objective data are both important, the ATOMS Project developed and revised an instrument to meet this need. During its development, the name of the instrument has evolved as it was utilized across various populations of AT users. Initially,
        • the RAATS, and then
        • the SPP, and finally
        • the A/D-CS
    2. OT FACT
      1. MED-AUDIT (R3)
        • Partnered with the RERC-AMI the ATOMS Project prototyped and is testing the MED-AUDIT. This instrument, building on the original OT FACT, has innovated a new strategy using a branching question method to quantify accessible medical devices. This project runs through 2007.
      2. ICF-FACT
        • The ICF-FACT is a developing measure that we have explored as a potential future outcomes instrument. This exploration has allowed us to demonstrate in software the outlining branching process with the ICF. This has pointed out specific advantages and disadvantages of using the ICF as a taxonomy for AT outcomes: ATOMS Project Technical Report: The ICF in the Context of Assistive Technology (AT) Interventions and Outcomes .
      3. SFA-AT
        • The SFA measures performance focusing on school based functional activities. We have maintained a thread of studies running with our graduate students over the years addressing the reliability and validity of the AT supplement
          • Silverman, M. & Smith, R. O. (2006). Consequential validity of an assistive technology supplement for the School Functional Assessment. Assistive Technology, 18(2), 155-165.

III. Abandonment Analysis

Factors in Assistive Technology Device Abandonment: Replacing “Abandonment” with “Discontinuance”

IV. ATOMS Project Bibliographies

The ATOMS Project activities have resulted in a large number of publications and presentations. These publications and presentations serve to both disseminate information to and gather information from the field. Please see the Publications & Presentations section for detailed listings and examples.

V. Course Outline

Course Guide for Teaching a Graduate Course in Assistive Technology Outcomes


Student Performance Profile and I3 Documents